On 19 April 1904, flames erupted from the Currie Building, which was located at 58 Wellington (near where the current TD Centre now sits). These flames turned into a wildfire and destroyed 20 acres of Toronto’s industrial core. The fire destroyed 98 buildings and caused damage of more than $10 million at that time. Only one person died in the aftermath. This disaster is known as the Great Fire of Toronto in 1904.
A police constable on patrol at the Downton reported the fire at 8 p.m. Toronto’s core was an industrial area with several manufacturing buildings. The fire spread rapidly and by 4 a.m. area of approximately 20 acres was destroyed by the wildfire. An alarm at 8:51 brought all firefighters in the city. Later several firefighters from other cities including Buffalo, Hamilton, and London, were also brought into Toronto upon the request of Mayor, Thomas Urquhart. When firefighters reached the fire near Wellington and Bay Streets, they faced strong winds and the water pressure was low. These winds caused the water to blowback and freeze on the firefighters. The wind spread embers and flames from building to building. The many exposed electrical, telegraph, and telephone wires made it hard for firefighters to place ladders on buildings. The fire department controlled the blaze at 4:30 a.m. The affected areas continued to smolder for two weeks with smaller fires popping up and reigniting from time to time.
The exact cause of the fire was never discovered. Theories at the time suggested either faulty wiring or an overheated pipe from a furnace or stove. Here below are some visuals that show the aftermaths of the great fire.